Speed Reading Apps | What Graduate Students Should Know Before They Download

Slow down before you download speed-reading apps

By Laura Morrison, April 2014

How fast can you read? If a lot of reading awaits you in graduate school, you may be looking for ways to move through text at a faster pace.

Mobile device users can download speed-reading apps that are designed to enhance reading skills. However, before you seek out these tools, you should take a look at recent research on these programs.

What are speed-reading apps?

Supposedly, these mobile programs can help you become a faster reader. In fact, one app from technology company Spritz can help you read at speeds of up to 1,000 words a minute, according to ABC News. "Stealth Mode" is the program, and those who use it can apparently breeze through a novel in less than 90 minutes.

How is this possible? Through a process that involves words' "Optimal Recognition Point," the news source reported. Basically, "Stealth Mode" streams one word at a time and highlights the ORP in red, which allows people to read without having to move their eyes.

The news outlet stated that there are several other speed-reading apps available to consumers. However, if the findings of a recent a recent University of California, San Diego study are true, you may want to hold off on downloading one.

Too fast for your own good

The type of work you're required to do in graduate programs is no walk in the park, so it's understandable that you'd want to get through your assignments as quickly as you can. However, sometimes it's a good idea to slow down.

In the UC, San Diego study, which was published in the Association for Psychological Science journal Psychological Science, researchers recreated the speed-reading app experience to see how it affects people's comprehension of text. Based on research involving 40 college students, being exposed to one word at a time can do more harm than good when it comes to retaining information.

"Our findings show that eye movements are a crucial part of the reading process," said Elizabeth Schotter, a psychological scientist at the university and the study's lead author, in a statement. "Our ability to control the timing and sequence of how we intake information about the text is important for comprehension. Our brains control how our eyes move through the text - ensuring that we get the right information at the right time."

When you read in a traditional manner, you have the ability to go back and reread anything you didn't understand at first. Such an advantage may make you want to think twice before you embrace speed-reading apps.

About the Author: Laura Morrison is the Web Content Manager for GradSchools.com. She earned an MBA from the Rutgers School of Business in 2010.

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